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Cerebral Palsy Lawyers in Pennsylvania

Our wilkes-barre/scranton birth injury lawyers will fight for you

Latona Law has been representing victims of catastrophic injuries in Pennsylvania for over 30 years. If your child is newborn, or born less than 20 years ago, we will fully investigate your case with no costs or fees to you until we get justice. Conditions such as cerebral palsy that were caused by birth injuries during pregnancy, difficult delivery or emergency c-sections may have been prevented if treated appropriately. Our medical malpractice attorneys specialize in birth injury cases and will fight to get you the compensation needed for a lifetime of financial struggle. 

Learn more about Cerebral Palsy malpractice cases:

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that appear early in childhood. The disorders can range from mild to severe.  Cerebral Palsy is caused by damage to the brain and can be manifested both physically and intellectually. Physical impairments may include movement, balance and posture.  Legs, arms and facial muscles may be affected. All or some of the limbs may be involved. Intellectual impairments may include an inability to think or learn at an age appropriate level. Speech, reading, writing and communication may also be affected. Seizures, vision and hearing, eating and developmental delays can also occur. Movement, balance and posture are also often affected by Cerebral Palsy. Most often injury to the child’s brain occurs during pregnancy, during childbirth, or shortly after childbirth.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits for Cerebral Palsy

While Cerebral Palsy is not usually preventable, there are situations where it could have been prevented. Doctors, nurses, or other caregivers may not have properly identified, monitored, or treated symptoms late in the pregnancy, during delivery, or while the baby was still at the hospital. This could be medical negligence and it deserves to be investigated. 

Unfortunately, medical mistakes are the cause of thousands of cerebral palsy and brain injuries.  Families can recover compensation past, present, and future benefits if it is proven in court that doctors, nurses, or other caregivers were negligent in caring for the mother and child. When proper procedure is not followed, and the standard of care is broken, permanent brain damage to a child can occur, sometimes leading to Cerebral Palsy.

Possible medical errors that can cause cerebral palsy:

  • Leaving a child in the birth canal too long causing a lack of oxygen to the brain
  • Failure to recognize and treat seizures following delivery
  • Failure to detect a prolapsed cord
  •  Excessive use of vacuum extraction
  • Excessive use of Pitocin to induce labor
  • Failure to perform a C-section in the presence of fetal distress
  • Not responding to changes in the fetal heart rate
  • Failure to plan a C-section given the existence of risk factors
  • Failure to timely diagnose and treat jaundice
  • Failure to timely diagnose and treat sepsis and meningitis

There are certain indicators which would warrant further investigation to determine if your child’s cerebral palsy may have been caused by medical negligence.

  • Emergency delivery with forceps, vacuum extraction, or emergency C-section
  • Your child required resuscitation (CPR) after birth (your child may have been born appearing bluish)
  • Following delivery, your child was transferred to a different hospital, or spent time in the NICU
  • Your child had seizures immediately or shortly after birth
  • Your child required special testing after birth, such as an MRI, or brain sac
  • Your child required oxygen to facilitate breathing after birth
  • Your child had low A.P.G.A.R. Score at birth

Types of Cerebral Palsy

Spastic Cerebral Palsy 

This is the most common type of Cerebral Palsy. A person with spastic CP develops tight muscles in some part of the body that are unable to relax.  Affected joints become stiff and hard to move.  Usually, a person has problems controlling movements, poor coordination and balance, and difficulty talking and eating.

There are four types of spastic CP, grouped according to how many limbs are affected.

  • Hemiplegia or diplegia:  One arm and one leg on the same side of the body (hemiplegia) or both legs (diplegia or paraplegia) are affected.  These are the most common types of spastic cerebral palsy.
  • Monoplegia:  Only one arm or leg is affected.
  • Quadriplegia:  Both arms and both legs are affected.  Usually the trunk and muscles that control the mouth, tongue and windpipe are affected as well.  This makes eating and talking difficult.  Infants with spastic quadriplegia may:
    • Have problems sucking and swallowing
    • Have a weak or shrill cry
    • Have a relaxed and floppy body or very stiff body.  When held, they may arch their backs and extend their arms and legs
    • Be irritable and jittery when awake.  For example, they may startle easily.
    • Sleep alot or show little interest in what is going on around them
  • Triplegia:  Either both arms and one leg or both legs and one arm are affected.

Nonspastic (extrapytamidal) Cerebral Palsy

The nonspastic forms of Cerebral palsy include dyskinetic cerebral palsy (subdivided into athetoid and dystonic forms) and ataxic cerebral palsy.

  • Dyskinetic cerebral palsy is associated with muscle tone that fluctuates between being loose and tight.  In some cases, rapid and jerky or uncontrolled slow continuous movements occur involuntarily.  These movements most often affect the face and neck, hands, feet, arms, legs, and sometimes the torso.

  • Athetoid (hyperkinetic) CP characteristics include relaxed and limp muscles during sleep, with some involuntary jerking (chorea) or writhing (athetosis).  If the face and mouth muscles are affected, problems may develop related to unusual facial expressions, drooling, speaking and choking when sucking, drinking, and eating.
  • Dystonic CP the body and neck are held in a stiff position.
  • Ataxic CP is the rarest type of cerebral palsy and involves the entire body.  Abnormal body movements affect the trunk, hands, arms, and legs.  Ataxic CP causes problems with:
    • Balance
    • Precise movements
    • Coordination
    • Hand control

Mixed Cerebral Palsy

Some children have symptoms of more than one type of CP.  For example, spastic legs (symptoms of spastic diplegic CP) and problems with facial muscle control (symptoms of dyskinetic CP) may both develop.

Total-body Cerebral Palsy

Affects the entire body to some degree.  Complications of cerebral palsy and other medical problems are more likely to develop when the entire body is involved rather than isolated parts.  Total body cerebral palsy may include any of the following:

  • Spastic quadriplegic CP
  • Dyskinetic CP
  • Ataxic CP

Cerebral Palsy is further classified based on muscle tone, motor disturbances, limb involvement, severity, gross motor functions, manual ability and communication function classification.

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